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Ivan Lewis says the government want to empower carers BEWARE - Carers UK Forum

Ivan Lewis says the government want to empower carers BEWARE

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I would like to voice my concerns to you whilst there is consulting with the government on the new strategy for carers.

My concerns are about the minister’s comments at the carer’s summit about “empowering carersâ€Â
Hi Linda

Currently Direct Payments go up with inflation. In our case my son's direct payments go up to match the "uplift" in charges set by his provider (we use an agency), and I know that this has happened in other cases, whether by Direct Payments, Independent Living Funds or the pilot Individualised Budgets in our area. As for help, it will depend in part on the relevant council. I know of one council that does nothing to help those receiving Direct Payments, and of others that have (or pay) agencies to help.

This won't change when Individualised Budgets come in. There will also have to be some sort of appeals/complaints system to deal with disputes over the amount assessed - there have to be safeguards in place, and ultimately the courts will be able to challenge this - or the ballot box will. The government knows this.

As far as the Carers Grant is concerned, they were under a lot of pressure to stop regulating everything the councils did and the Carers Grant was an easy one to relax the rules on. Wrongly. I think, given the poor publicity this has gained them, that they probably regret this but haven't a clue what to do about it. There was a hint that the next Carers Strategy may address this - and I heard at least one carer suggesting that the money should not be paid to councils but to CUK. While there was much support for the idea, I'm not sure about that so much - but the idea of making sure that the councils don't get their hands on the Carers Grant certainly appeals!
i can understand payments to help care for your caree but the main problem is for the carer as always we need cash for the work we do i said months ago that an MP told me VOUCHERS could be given to the caree and used for help but i repeat the carer needs help for their income

thankyou for your comments , I have to say that in 23 years of carering for our daughter with multiple and profound disabilities my experience has been in all that time not one change to our benefit or the way it is delivered has been to the benefit of either myself as a carer or our daughter. It has usually been a very cleverly thought out strategy to in-fact to cut a benefit or save money. This government taking people off of severe disablement allowance topped up with income support and putting them on incapacity benefit is a case in point. Ah! you might say what about the introduction of carer allowance. Let us not forget the government of the day fought tooth and nail against it and it was won in the European court of appeal and when it was implemented look t the safe guards they have put in place round it lest we should ever ask for any more.
Cleverly tagging it with an overlapping rule for a start.
I do not trust the government who ever is in power and in 23 years of carering i have not seen ONE THING to make me revise my position on this.
Hi Linda

I don't trust the government either. And years ago I used to work for them. The changes to Carers Allowance were made through the European Courts - married women who could not receive Carers Allowance for caring for their husbands won a huge case. Let's not forget though that the government of the day had two choices: to pay up or to scrap Invalid Care Allowance (as it used to be called) altogether.

As for the overlapping rule, that's been around for 97 years. It's time it was changed.

I do understand your concerns: but the real cost cutting with Individualised Budgets is about cutting costs through getting carers to do the administration and through avoiding, wherever possible, using agencies.
I had not realized that this overlapping rule had been around for so long never the less the government could have called this carers allowance many things at the time and not necessarily made it a pension or made it means tested.
I would like to go back to the individualized budgets. I am very concerned about any redress people will have if their allocation of money is inadequate. I realize not everybody is like me and would find the proposition of any court action against a local authority very daunting but when these new individualized budgets come about who will you challenge? not the local social service i suspect but the ministry of works and pensions or some other lofty government department how daunting is that to take legal action against.
The details have not yet been worked out as far as I know, so the pilot areas are using their usual methods for complaints/appeals as it is decided through the social work teams at present.

You're right that any system should not be daunting - but even the "usual methods" are pretty daunting for most people. I know we're watching what happens very carefully in our area. The jury's still out. I have no doubt that CUK and other organisations are watching VERY closely too! As it's all under review, and different areas are using different rules/methods, it will take some unpicking to find out which scheme - if any - is preferable. Given that it's taken some people 18 months to get a package together under Individualised Budgets, it's going to need a lot of improvement, too.

As you say, the government could have changed the overlapping rule long ago, but frankly they are all advised by civil servants, who are not known for radical or original thought. It's one of the reasons that policies between governments don't seem to change a great deal...
My son has been ppart of a pilot scheme and it has been a disaster. He also has severe learning difficulties and autism so how will he ever possibly be "in control"?
The idea sounds great on paper but the reality seems to be a huge cop out by LAs. You are given a pot of money and the onus is then on you to find services. The services my son needs do not exist in any shape or form in our County. We were told that we could employ "carers" who could take him out to access the community. My son is over 6 foot, unpredictable, has no sense of danger, who on earth would we employ? LA day services will be run down because funding will be directed to individual budgets. Although they are not wonderful (although with funding they could be) they provide a community and a sense of belonging to many people.
The idea of funding people through individual budgets would result in isolation for many.
I am not at all surprised at your problems and i do commiserate with you no body knows until you have walked a mile in our shoes.. Please put your posting on this sight in an envelope and send it to Emelda Redmond the chair woman who is, as we speak is consulting with Ivan Lewis and his cohorts to implement this. All of the above which i have written i have sent to her.
Also if you have any energy left send one to Ivan Lewis as well. Always remember these people will move on out of these government departments. We will be a distant memory if any at all to them in a couple of years time. Our children are with us for life. MAKE NOISE NOW.

Thanks for your post - this is very useful. It is clearly essential that carers are not left on their own to find suitable care workers - clearly there is a need to be helped with this. We will feed this in to our work on the National Strategy and individual budgets.